“Hell is truth seen too late.”
— Thomas Hobbes, 1651.
By A.C. Thompson
One of the eight members or associates of a violent California white supremacist group arrested on federal riot charges has pleaded guilty to assaulting protesters and others at a political rally in Huntington Beach, California, in 2017.
Tyler Laube, 22, pleaded guilty on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in central California to a single count of conspiracy to violate the federal riots act over his role in a March 25, 2017, attack on protesters and others, including a journalist, at a Make America Great Again rally in Huntington Beach.
In the plea agreement, Laube admitted that he had engaged in combat training with the group in the months before the 2017 rally in support of President Donald Trump.
Laube admitted to participating in the attack with other members of the Rise Above Movement, what prosecutors describe as a militant white supremacist group. In the plea agreement, Laube admitted that he had engaged in combat training with the group in the months before the 2017 rally in support of President Donald Trump.
In all, seven other accused members or associates of the group face federal riot charges, either over their roles in the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, or in other violent episodes in several California cities that year. The seven men have not entered pleas in their cases.
In the plea agreement, prosecutors pledge to recommend a reduction in Laube’s potential prison term, which could have been as many as five years. The plea agreement makes no mention of Laube cooperating with federal prosecutors in the cases against the other men, but it suggests that prosecutors would be satisfied with a sentence of not less than 21 months.
A sentencing date for Laube has been set for March 25, the second anniversary of the Huntington Beach rally.
“His role in the incident was minimal compared to the other people,” Jerome J. Haig, Laube’s attorney, said. “He was only involved in the Huntington Beach incident and not any of the subsequent incidents, and he wasn’t an organizer or leader on either.
“The bottom line here is that he was involved in the Huntington Beach incident and then he stopped,” Haig maintained. “As this case goes on further, I think more facts will come out about who did what in this case and this was not some big political agenda for Tyler. It was just a mistake he made, and he’s atoning for his mistake by admitting his responsibility for what he’s done.”
The action against the eight men this fall came after months of reporting by ProPublica and Frontline, which uncovered the group, its origins and makeup, and its role in multiple violent episodes throughout 2017.
ProPublica’s first article, “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace,” raised questions about the law enforcement response to the group’s conduct. A Frontline film in August, “Documenting Hate: Charlottesville,” highlighted the group’s founder, Robert Rundo, as well as another member, Michael Miselis, who was working for a defense contractor and possessed a national security clearance. Rundo is in custody in California, and Miselis is being held in Virginia.
In announcing the indictments of four Rise Above Movement members or associates in early October, federal prosecutors cited the reporting done by the two news organizations.
(This story was co-published with Frontline PBS.)
FBI Now Classifies Far-Right Proud Boys As ‘extremist group’, Documents Reveal — The FBI’s 2018 designation of the self-confessed “western chauvinist group” as extremist has not been previously made public. The Proud Boys was founded by the Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes. McInnes has insisted that his group is not white nationalist or “alt-right” but the Proud Boys have a history of misogyny and glorifying violence. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) lists them as a hate group. The document also says: “The FBI has warned local law enforcement agencies that the Proud Boys are actively recruiting in the Pacific north-west”, and: “Proud Boys members have contributed to the recent escalation of violence at political rallies held on college campuses, and in cities like Charlottesville, Virginia, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.” … Read the Rest
- Right-Wing Extremists Are Already Threatening Violence Over a Democratic House — The backlash to the election is coming. According to Chip Berlet, an expert on the populist right, the phenomenon we’re watching unfold is known to sociologists as “scripted violence.” “If a very popular leader who is high up — it doesn’t matter if it’s a political or a movement leader — basically alleges that some group of people is conspiring against the common good, and they harp on that for a long time, it’s only a matter of time before people get killed,” he recently explained. There’s a long history of this kind of violence, dating from well before the Holocaust and continuing well into recent decades and even the present. In 1990s Rwanda, for example, thousands were massacred when radio talkers targeted communities for lethal violence as part of a tribal/ethnic cleansing campaign. In the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte’s state-condoned death squads follow his cues to target alleged “drug users” for execution, leading to thousands of deaths. Trump has tacitly endorsed the tactic. His rhetoric at home is part of the same violence for which he is writing the scripts. … Read the Rest
Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign Of Menace
By A.C Thompson, Ali Winston & Darwin BondGraham
ProPublica /Frontline PBS (10/19/18)
It was about 10 a.m. on Aug. 12 when the melee erupted just north of Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia.
About two dozen white supremacists — many equipped with helmets and wooden shields — were battling with a handful of counter-protesters, most of them African American. One white man dove into the violence with particular zeal. Using his fists and feet, the man attacked one person after another.
Despite their prior records, and open boasting of current violence, RAM has seemingly drawn little notice from law enforcement. Four episodes of violence documented by ProPublica resulted in only a single arrest — and in that case prosecutors declined to go forward.
The street fighter was in Virginia on that August morning for the “Unite the Right” rally, the largest public gathering of white supremacists in a generation, a chaotic and bloody event that would culminate, a few hours later, in the killing of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was there to protest the racist rally.
The violence in Charlottesville became national news. President Donald Trump’s response to it — he asserted there were “some very fine people on both sides” of the events that day — set off a wave of condemnations, from his allies as well as his critics.
But for many Americans, conservatives as well as liberals, there was shock and confusion at the sight of bands of white men bearing torches, chanting racist slogans and embracing the heroes of the Confederacy: Who were they? What are their numbers and aims? …
Trump Admin Will Not Renew Program To Fight Domestic Terrorists
The Trump administration had already canceled a grant for a group that fights white supremacist terror.
NBC News (10/31/18)
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration, which already canceled a grant for a group that fights white supremacist terror, now appears unwilling to renew the anti-domestic terror program under which it was funded, despite recent high-profile attacks like the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and data showing a spike in attacks on religious minorities.
The Obama administration launched the Countering Violent Extremism Grant Program in 2016 to fight domestic terrorism. Managed by the Department of Homeland Security, the program was given $10 million to distribute.
20 Lessons From The 20th Century On How To Survive In Trump’s America
In his small handbook “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century”, Yale historian Timothy Snyder outlines lessons — and warnings — learned from the tragedy of autocratic regimes from around the globe. Snyder’s list provides a barometer of just how far down the road to tyranny America has already fallen.
Given the ProPublica story above, one lesson stands out in particular…
17. Watch out for the paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.
Link to Snyder’s full “20 Lessons” list, HERE.